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Anti-social Behaviour

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The Home Office has no plans to do so.

Criminal Records Bureau

Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Baroness Scotland of Asthal: It is not possible to extract this information from the Criminal Records Bureau's database (CRB) because its information technology (IT) system does not provide a facility for this.

The independent review team delivered its conclusions and 10 recommendations to my right honourable friend the Home Secretary last December. My noble and learned friend Lord Falconer of Thoroton set out the Government's response on 27 February 2003, Official Report, (WA 49–53). None of the recommendations addressed the issue of multiple applications from a single individual. But we are committed to making the disclosure service as accessible as possible. In order to reduce cost and avoid unnecessary bureaucracy, employers are encouraged to consider accepting a disclosure issued on a previous occasion for a similar purpose. The CRB has produced guidance to assist this process. The arrangements have been kept under review. ra

Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the three most common faults in incorrectly completed Criminal Records Bureau application forms; and what steps are being taken to reduce their frequency.[HL5051]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The three most common faults in incorrectly completed disclosure application forms are as follows:

    21 per cent have omissions in the applicant's five-year address history;

    11 per cent contain an incorrect counter-signatory reference number; and

    9 per cent contain insufficient evidence of the applicant's identify.

The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) continually assesses and amends its operational procedures to provide its customers with an easily accessible and user-friendly service. This includes advising customers on the correct completion of the disclosure application form. This is communicated via revised and improved guidance notes for disclosure applicants, a monthly newsletter for registered bodies, a video and information contained on the CRB website, A dedicated registered body assurance team is also available to offer advice and guidance to registered bodies on all aspects of the disclosure service.

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Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What factors justify the doubling in the charge for a standard check by the Criminal Records Bureau from £12 to £24.[HL5052]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: We have always made it clear that the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) would be financed through the fees charged for providing the disclosure service, and that the fee levels would be subject to regular review. The disclosure fee is determined by a combination of CRB costs and the volume of applications. The level of demand has been lower than expected, due principally to the decision to defer introduction of basic disclosures, while some costs have increased—for example, as a result of the introduction of a paper application channel in response to customer demand.

Gulf War 1990–91: Vaccines

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Bach on 9 October (WA 67), whether there are any plans to call on veterans, both serving and retired, to provide such medical records as may remain in their possession so as to assist research into the causes of Gulf War illnesses which remain medically unexplained.[HL5095]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach): The Government remain committed to funding appropriate research into Gulf veterans' illnesses and factors which might have a bearing on these. Where appropriate to do so, some researchers have already taken account of existing medical records where consent has been provided by veterans. The Government's Gulf veterans' illnesses research programme is guided by expert advice from the independent Medical Research Council (MRC). The MRC has conducted a review of all UK Gulf veterans' illnesses research, and published a report in May 2003 which is available on the Internet at: research.htm. The MRC made a number of recommendations for more research, but did not recommend further research using medical records in the possession of Gulf veterans. The MRC's view was that research aimed at improving the long-term health of Gulf veterans who still have symptoms should take priority.

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Bach on 9 October (WA 67), whether the decision to make anthrax vaccinations optional in the deployment in Iraq this year was taken in consequence of defects in the procedures used in 1990–91 deployment.[HL5097]

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Lord Bach: No. Immunisation against anthrax for United Kingdom Armed Forces was voluntary during the 1990–91 Gulf conflict and remains voluntary, in keeping with longstanding medical practice.

The MoD's intention in 1990–91 that immunisation against anthrax was voluntary has been documented in the MoD paper Implementation of the Immunisation Programme against Biological Warfare Agents for UK Forces during the Gulf Conflict 1990–1991, dated 20 January 2000. This paper is available in the Library of the House and on the Internet at: As this paper explains, when instructions from MoD headquarters were cascaded down the command chain, in some cases the voluntary nature of the immunisation programme was not adequately communicated, which may have led to a perception that such vaccines were mandatory.

Since 1991, training and briefing procedures have been improved to ensure that the voluntary nature of immunisation against anthrax is fully understood by all personnel offering or receiving the immunisation.

Bail Refusals: Breastfeeding Mothers

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will collect information from the courts and adjudicators about mothers who are breastfeeding and who are refused bail.[HL5040]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Lord Filkin): The only information that my department collects about bail decisions is for those made in the Crown Court on whether bail was granted or refused. There are no plans to collect the data suggested.

Local and European Parliamentary Elections: Franchise and Membership

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the relevant United Kingdom statute, European treaty or legislative basis for the rights of citizens of member states of the European Union, resident in the United Kingdom, to nominate, vote for or become members of local and regional government bodies and of the European Parliament.[HL5030]

Lord Filkin: Council Directives 93/109/EC of 6 December 1993 and 94/80/EC of 19 December 1994, implementing article 8B of the Maastricht Treaty, allow any EU citizen to vote and stand as a candidate in their member state of residence in European Parliamentary and municipal elections, respectively. Directive 93/109/EC was implemented in the UK by the European Parliamentary Elections (Changes to the Franchise and Qualification of Representatives) Regulations 1994 (SI 1994/342). Directive 94/80/EC was implemented in the UK by the Local Government Elections (Changes to the Franchise and Qualification

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of Members) Regulations 1995 (SI 1995/1948). Further Regulations—the Local and European Parliamentary Elections (Registration of Citizens of Accession States) Regulations 2003 (SI 2003/1557)—aimed at including citizens of Accession States resident in the UK were made in June 2003.

State Pension: Cost of Uprating

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Hollis of Heigham on 20 October (WA 153), what assumptions were made for the future rates of increase of (a) average earnings; and (b) the minimum income levels underwritten by pension credits.[HL5069]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): The assumptions used were that the basic state pension was increased by 2.5 per cent in the years up to April 2005. In April 2006, the basic state pension was assumed to be uprated by £7 for a single person and £11 for a couple.

After April 2006, the basic state pension was assumed to increase annually in line with average earnings. Medium and long-term projections of average earnings are as published in the 2003 Budget and forecast real earnings growth at 2 per cent.

In modelling the pension credit, the guarantee credit has been uprated by earnings whilst the savings credit threshold has been uprated in line with the basic state pension.

However, the earlier answer should have said that the figures provided take account of the £11 increase for a couple.

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